My HoJo

My Favorite Pic

De one, de only, HooooJo Jo-Jo!

First thing’s first: no, not Howard Johnson’s. Howard Joseph. That’s where the Hojo nickname comes from.

My boyfriend and I have been together since November 2007. πŸ˜€ Yes, it’s a freakin’ record for me! The previous record was 6 months with a lame duck that shall remain nameless.

How did you meet?

Lovely of you to ask. πŸ™‚ What seems like an eternity ago, I worked at Zales Jewelers at the Idiot Mound Mall. Errrm, oh, sorry, Indian Mound Mall. During the summer of 2007, Howard had transferred from the SIPS coffee shop in Mt. Vernon, Ohio to the new one in Heath, Ohio in the mall as manager.

I had talked with Russ, one of the owners during business hours occasionally. He kind of hinted that Howard was a nice guy. I forget when, but he did.

All through the summer, I had done my best to be a bit of a show-off. I captured, briefly, some attention I wanted, and a lot of attention that I didn’t. I was morbidly amused when one of my co-workers who had a very brief stint with Zales took interest in Howard. The three of us would chit-chat a bit. Nothing would have gone anywhere between my co-worker and Howard for extraordinarily obvious reasons though. He possessed common sense and has a sense of smell.

One night during closing in November 2007, Howard was heading quickly past my store whistling something familiar.

“Is that the theme from Kill Bill?”

“Yeah, it is! How did you know?”

I, of course, took a fond liking to Quinton Tarantino’s Kill Bill after I got past my fears of disappointing people around me who view violence as reprehensible. “Anything portraying violence should not be given any attention.” Pfffffttt! When Tarantino does it, it garners attention, quickly and with extraordinary results.

After Howard and I talked about how no one we know ever hangs out and watches movies anymore, we decided to do just that. We exchanged phone numbers (secretly, I was ecstatic) and we planned to meet at my apartment. I think at the time my first ever self-purchased television was still working. I had some leftover beverages from a party, probably mine or a friend’s birthday.

After a few movie nights, we began to realize that our initial attraction to each other was quite real. We fell into a natural progression of dates and romance.

What’s all the fuss?

The day after Christmas, 2007, Howard and I exchanged Christmas presents. I was giddy with excitement. Before Christmas, Howard had asked me what my favorite stone was, settings, etc. He wanted to be sure to get me a Christmas present that would blow Zales out of the water. Boy did it! The day after Christmas, Howard had come to my family’s ‘day after Christmas’ gathering. He was terribly ill and had to leave early.

My Ring

When I got home to my apartment, Howard was still a bit of a wreck. Despite that, we exchanged our presents. I gave him a stainless steel ring wrapped with a band of gold. He gave me a blue oval-cut Ceylon Sapphire set in a very unique white gold band inside a true-blue ring box from Hayne’s Jewelers in Heath, Ohio. On the sides of the ring are two princess cut Chatham sapphires and two tiny and clear diamonds.

I was just FLOORED! He said he’d seen a bigger ring that was gaudier but he didn’t think that’d be my style. Did I mention I was floored!

Who made a bigger fuss?

Soon thereafter, I showed off the ring to my family. My mom and my grandmother were under the assumption that the stones and material were fake. They voiced it when I was and wasn’t around but never to Howard.

Howard took pride in investigating the best quality of stones to get. I was frustrated with my family enough that I went to Hayne’s Jewelers and spoke with the lovely wife of the owner. She was surprised that my mom and grandmother were making such a fuss. She said that she and her husband would be happy to produce an official appraisal of my ring.

I received the appraisal a few weeks later. I showed it to my mom. Her jaw dropped. “I thought it was sterling silver.”

Nope. White gold.

I’ve been intrigued with my precious little ring since I was graced with it on December 26th, 2007.

Love Knot

How’d he top that?

Honestly, my sapphire ring is the best gift I’ve ever received! He did give me a yellow gold celtic love knot with a center diamond for our 1st year anniversary. It was secured in an unusual little box from Hayne’s Jewelers. I wear it nearly every day at work. I’ve received many compliments on it.

What else?

For Valentine’s Day 2008, Hojo gave definitely surprised me. We were still working at theΒ  mall together. He’d taken a break from work to get me a large bouquet of flowers, including lillies with a giant-sized Valentine’s Day balloon. I stopped at the mall to see him at work before going home. He asked if I had been to the apartment yet. I had said that I hadn’t. Somehow, he remained straight-faced.

Lo and behold, the big surprise was awaiting me. He had re-arranged my coffee table and couch-side lamp. The flowers were sitting on the coffee table and the balloon was anchored and floating just above. The lamp and the craning extension shown on both as I walked in my door. πŸ˜€ Hehehe!

Valentine’s Day 2009 was almost a disaster. We went out to Easton Towne Center. We planned on going to Panera Bread instead of something uber-fancy. We both fell in love with their soup bread bowls. We parked somehwere – I can’t remember where – and headed toward one of the maps. We spotted Panera Bread on the map and started heading that direction. I don’t know how we did it, but we managed to turn ourselves around a few times and walked more than we’d planned. We finally made it to Panera Bread, ordered and scarfed down our deliciousness. We had planned on a movie I think, but as I recall the lines were ridiculous. We went home eventually and enjoyed each other’s company – and then passed out.

So what do you do together?

Occasionally, we’ve made our way out to Easton. It’s been fun each time we’ve gone. I’m usually drooling over Victoria Secret stuff from afar and he’s ogling Pumas. We’ve gone on walks on the bike paths back in Newark when we lived there and now up here in Mt. Vernon.

We’re going to start a garden this year. Hojo plans on tilling up the dirt soon. We’ll plant vegetables including corn, our own lettuce, and peppers. I want to plant flowers; we’ll most likely put those closest to the front sidewalk. The front yard will be fenced off from the backyard very shortly. Our Am Staf likes to jump the shorter fencing in the front.


Most of the garden was a considerable success. The hot peppers are thriving but the melons took a nose dive. There’s 1 BIG butternut squash and 2 smaller ones.

Hojo got me flowers for my birthday this year! Yay! We’re both broke as all get out, but he managed to surprise me with an eclectic array of lovely fresh and dry flowers. I can always count on my Hojo for something unique.

For his next birthday, I have GOT to show him up. πŸ™‚

When we met, Howard’s son was 5 years old. He’s now an unbelieveable 8 years old. Before Christmas 2008, Cai and I had made a murder mystery involving Li’l Bit’s first toy, a chef knife with adult supervision, and ketchup. No sneak previews yet. πŸ™‚

I’m thinking about publishing “Cai, Super Sleuth” on my blog.

We’ll see. πŸ™‚


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